Day 6 of 31
Director: Yoon-Hyun Chang , Chang Yoon-hyun , Chang Youn Hyun
Starring: Han Suk-kyu, Shim Eun-ha. South Korea. 1h 56m
So often have the Koreans fantasied with violent and psychotic serial killers, and often these cinematic gorefests are shrouded with mystery and loaded with grotesque skin crawling violence. The only film to date that had any real life connection is Memories of Murder (2003) which details the first properly documented serial killer in South Korea (correct me if I’m wrong, i’m just going by the details in my DVD cover), a case filled with blunders and much embarrassment. But in all fictional accounts the often flawed cops usually get their man..
In a similar style to the aforementioned Memories of Murder, Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (2002) and H (2002) this somewhat tragic dark street drama that arrived at the same era but was overshadowed.
On arriving back on the police force, Detective Cho (Suk-kyu Han) is soon heading up the case of an eccentric series of potential murders while being under investigation by internal affairs. The shamed officer has the pleasurable task of trying to match the random body parts of a few men; found scattered around Seoul, in bags, left in cars or in public areas, kinda like in H (2002) but H really took that to new gross levels tho…. Eventually Cho manages to piece the body parts together and identifies three nearly whole men, the common factor is that a stunning artist Su-Yeon Chae (Eun-ha Shim) dated all three three but now her life’s in danger as the killer starts to execute more people connected with her.
Relishing in the delights of night time korean streets, this deeply psychological film has a similar atmosphere as Se7en (1995) while the cops try to chase down a killer whose motives seem alien to them, gradually piecing things together while dealing with lots of other “issues” Cho, kinda like Dtc. Mills, often loses sight and lets his anger speak for him. Luckily he has a brilliant team who do help out considerably while chowing down every moment they have during the late night stake outs and tantrums.
Being one of Yun-hyeon Jang’s darkest movies, he really didn’t hold back when describing graphic violence although most of it happens off screen, while the plot is more detailed than is needed which makes it highly confusing and for 2 hours that can be too much to handle.
The first time i saw this film i didn’t appreciate the ending, it was like missing the Keyser Soze moment, I GOT IT but I felt it was a bit over dramatised but it doesn’t deter from the plot in order to make things more gripping, in fact it leads to more questions, but is a genuine conclusions. Overall it’s quite brilliant but take a long time to get to the essence of the plot , because of the time delays it becomes predictable but the injections of gore and blood often spice things up. Overall it’s up there with the other heavy hitters, it has it’s faults but is a genuinely sound film.
R – Se7en (1995), Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (2002), and H (2002), Memories of Murder (2003)
L – A-Z of Korean films, Serial Killer films, Bad Ass Cops.
A – My love of Korean cinema…